Wells Fargo increasing executives salaries

Wells Fargo said Thursday it is increasing the salaries for its top four executives, including CEO John Stumpf.

Executive compensation at banks has been a hot-button topic in recent months, especially for firms like Wells Fargo that received government bailout funds last fall. Wells Fargo received $25 billion as part of the Treasury Department's Troubled Asset Relief Program, which was launched at the peak of the credit crisis.

The increases in salary will not be paid in cash, but instead through the issuance of company stock. The stock cannot be sold until the TARP money is repaid.

Aside from Stumpf, Wells Fargo is raising the salaries of Dave Hoyt, Mark Oman and Howard Atkins. Hoyt serves as head of wholesale banking. Oman is the bank's head of home and consumer finance, while Atkins is Wells Fargo's chief financial officer.

San Francisco-based Wells Fargo said the increases will bring its executives' pay in line with management at other top banks.

The increase in salaries were also done after considering recent guidance from the Treasury Department, the company said in a statement. Banks that received the money must also adhere to certain compensation restrictions until they repay the Treasury Department.

Stumpf will continue to collect a $900,000 cash salary, but now also receive $4.7 million in stock annually.

Hoyt will receive about $3.2 million in stock to go along with his $700,000 cash salary. Oman will receive about $3.3 million in stock and his $600,000 cash salary. Atkins will receive about $2.6 million in stock on top of his $700,000 salary.

Politicians have recently questioned the methods big banks use to determine compensation packages, especially in the wake the government's bailout.

Last week, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo released details on bonuses paid in 2008 to the initial nine banks the government agreed to provide with TARP funds, including Wells Fargo.

Cuomo's report showed Wells Fargo paid out $977.5 million in bonuses to employees in 2008, including to Wachovia employees. For some top executives, bonuses often make up the bulk of their annual compensation.

Stumpf did not receive any bonus in 2008.

Wells Fargo acquired Charlotte-based Wachovia at the end of last year.

Wells Fargo's 2008 bonus payments were smaller than all but two of the initial nine banks that received TARP money.

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